Scoop: Welch preparing to run for Senate

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Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) is signaling to his allies that he is preparing to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), people familiar with the matter told Nerdshala.

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why it matters: Vermont has never sent a woman to serve in the House or Senate. Welch will likely clear the Democratic primary, but also likely face challenge from the Left, according to the intercept,

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has the potential to play the role of kingmaker, closing the primary if Progressive backs Welch.
  • The 74-year-old, eight-time Congressman is already in a strong position to win the nomination and retain the seat for the party.
  • Locals say their chances are strong, even as Gov. Phil Scott — a rare successful Vermont Republican — decides to jump in the race.
  • Scott, who won re-election by 41 points, insisted he was not interested in running – a sentiment his spokesman said. repeated monday,

go in: molly grayWelch, a Democrat and current lieutenant governor, is set to run for the House seat he has held for 13 years.

  • Rajya Sen Kesha Ram Hinsdale, another Democrat and the first woman of color in the state Senate, is also considering a run for the House seat.

big picture: Lehi’s announcement is setting off a scuffle across a state with significantly less political turnover and even less female representation.

  • While Vermont celebrates its left-wing politics, and is the proudly progressive home of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, it is the only state that has never sent a woman to Congress.

big picture: One of seven states with a single house of Representatives, open seats are rare in Vermont.

  • Lehi, 81, has completed 47 years in the Senate.
  • Sanders, 80, has served in Congress for 31 years.
  • After a career in the state legislature, Welch moved to the US House of Representatives.
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Between the lines: There is no age limit for senators, but given the current age of delegation, it is likely that Vermont will send more than one woman to Congress this decade.

  • Becca Balinte, the state senate pro tempore, is also well positioned to run for governor or lieutenant governor.
  • “Let’s give the senator the respect he deserves and not immediately get bogged down in speculation,” Ballint said in a statement. “I am clear about my intentions and interest in deepening my work for Vermont, but today I am focused on honoring Sen. Leahy.”

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